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How old should children be before they stop riding in car booster seats?

Asked at Borders, 700 N.H. on June 29, 2006

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Photo of Tracy Coyle

“It seems like by the time they’re 6 or 7, they shouldn’t have to. I had a small child, and they feel a little funny riding in one when they’re 7 or 8 years old.”

Photo of Edward Carroll

“I thought it was 7 to 9. We’ve got a 5-month-old at home, but my wife’s sister has a 2-year-old who just outgrew her old bucket one and moved on to the next stage.”

Photo of Brandi Brock

“I’m going to guess 7, but that’s purely a guess. I don’t even know how tall they are at any certain age.”

Photo of Joe Steffen

“I think it should be based more on height and weight. I’ve got a niece who is 8, but she’s only about 4 feet tall and 40 or 45 pounds.”

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Comments

Multidisciplinary 7 years, 9 months ago

Shucks. I can only wonder. And snicker. :D

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jonas 7 years, 9 months ago

MD: I don't know if it was a record, but my favorite was the "Ubermime Saga" (From which Das-Ubermime got his sign on) sadly, I don't think it exists anymore, it looks like they erased the commentary from before they instituted the sign on system.

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Damian666 7 years, 9 months ago

better question for tomorrow, how do you want to die or how old do you want to be when you die?

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H_Lecter 7 years, 9 months ago

1st drive '68 Mercedes sedan 1st car '69 Mustang 1st magic trick - sawing a girl in half...how was I supposed to know that it was supposed to be a trick.

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Multidisciplinary 7 years, 9 months ago

Jonas..you manage to turn a car seat question downhill by 6:51 am..is that a record or what !?!?! :D

And then joggers after lunch...what a wicked man you are. But then, we all knew that.

I'm with Jeff Foxworthy on this one. He can remember spending the whole trip to Florida riding up in the back window waving at people, parents hit the brakes.....

We used to use the raised up speakers in the Chrysler Imperial to talk into ( in the rear window area). Can't have that fun strapped down anymore. Can't play as many out the window games either, can't turn to see things as they go by.

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beatrice 7 years, 9 months ago

fangorn -- ha, I had a feeling you would ignore the last part of that comment! I tossed it in for your comic relief. : ) Have a safe trip. bea

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sunflower_sue 7 years, 9 months ago

Nope, didn't know the hubby in highschool. Don't know if he would have been my "type" back then anyway. So, do you think him having the nick-name "Mr. Goodwrench" had anything to do with that van??? Hmmmmmm......

TOB, that icky poetry-like diatribe was just too funny. And did I mention icky? I almost can't touch my keyboard to type...it just seems dirty or something. ;)

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gphawk89 7 years, 9 months ago

1967 Chevy pickup, shortbed, straight-six, 3-speed column-shift. Neat little truck - I'd probably still have it today if my brother hadn't flipped it over and destroyed it. Then a 1968 Camaro for 11 years, and now a '91 Thunderbird for 12 years. Three cars in 25 years.

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trinity 7 years, 9 months ago

my learn-to-drive mobile was a '47 willys panel jeep; starter button on the floor, gearshift on the column! i was 8 or 9...i could tool that thing around the front yard like nobody's business, back in the late '60s.

my first car-the one i got to cruise main&drive to school-a '66 olds 98! biiiig car, 4 door, dunno how many times i knocked the mirrors off that sucker at the sonic.

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pooter 7 years, 9 months ago

next thing is helmets to go with those car seats.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 7 years, 9 months ago

My first car,

A 68' non-export mercedes. The thing had a body skin like a tank. In town used to drive 50, on the highway 100.

'course that was Kmph

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bankboy119 7 years, 9 months ago

85 Toyota MR2. I had fun until it was snowing.

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Fangorn 7 years, 9 months ago

Bea: I wouldn't dream of getting used to it. If you stopped taking occasional shots at me, I'd be worried that you didn't love me anymore! ;) I gratefully acknowledge your salute. I will be in Wyoming for Independence Day, where they definitely do not ban fireworks. I hope everyone has a safe holiday with their families and significant others. (Although considering my firework proclivities, I may need safe wishes more than anyone!)

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Gootsie 7 years, 9 months ago

Oh B, I loved that 72 Capri! I had just gotten a new 1973 red Vega (payments were 74.43 a month for three years), and saw the Capri. I was bummed!

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beatrice 7 years, 9 months ago

A yellow 1972 Ford Capri -- cute, stick shift, fast. Had little flip out windows in the back. Oh, I loved that car. When I got my first job a short while later, I bought if off my parents because they wanted to trade it in. I don't know what type of sexual it was, it was just plain sexy! I've not had a car I've enjoyed as much since. If the drive shaft and transmission hadn't broken in the late '80s -- something to do with losing oil in the differential (?) -- I might still be driving that car.

For you Fangorn, I call for a 20 Roman Candle salute on the 4th. But just this once -- don't get used to it.

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Redzilla 7 years, 9 months ago

I learned to drive in a '71 Subaru wagon when I was about 8. My older (driving age) sister was dating a guy she wasn't supposed to and she was worried about people seeing her car parked in front of his house. (Small town gossip is so sweet.) She taught me how to drive a stick and then made me drop her off and pick her up so she wouldn't get in trouble.

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prospector 7 years, 9 months ago

Who needs a child seat when we all will be cruising in one of these. You can get one next year.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object/article?f=/c/a/2006/06/19/MNG48JGFK31.DTL&o=0

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Gootsie 7 years, 9 months ago

Fangorn - way to go. You score!

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acg 7 years, 9 months ago

fangorn "but I think that one was Metro sexual". I spit coffee out of my nose when I read that, just so ya know. Too funny!!

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jonas 7 years, 9 months ago

'89 VW Fox, manual with no 3rd gear, a broken gas guage, a short in the interior lighting, windshield wipers that were always on until I pulled the connector in the steering column (then I had to reconnect it to make it work again) and a frowning front bumper from where I rammed a light pool skidding out in the rain. We affectionately called it "The Loaf."

Seriously, you should try driving a car in the high summer who's windshield wipers won't turn off.

"Ya'know, kid, it's not raining out." "Yeah, but it will be eventually." ". . . uh, yes." "So, I'm an Eagle Scout. Just Being Prepared."

I got the idea to pull the wipers straight up and attach gloves to the end of them, so my car would at least be waving nicely at everyone, but they would'nt stay up any more that a couple blocks.

I also turned the windshield spritzers to the front and to the right, so I could get joggers.

Fun times.

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Fangorn 7 years, 9 months ago

s_s: Did your then future-husband have lots of room in the back of his conversion van? Did he ever offer to show it to you? Hmmmm? I wonder why he loved it so much?

Regarding my Golf, I appreciate the offer. But it never served in the military and it isn't (as far as I can tell) gay. I suspected the Geo compact down the street had a crush on my car for a while, but I think that one was a Metro-sexual.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 7 years, 9 months ago

Maybe Sue's HS bf lived "In a van down by the river"

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The_Original_Bob 7 years, 9 months ago

"If this van is a rock'n, don't come a knock'n."

"No, Sue, not leather... Pleaatheer. Wanna feel?"

"That shag carpeting came out of my folks' basement. Feels good between the toes, huh?"

"No, the track lighting was custom. Look, it blinks fast, faster, now, whoa, just like that it's blue."

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Gootsie 7 years, 9 months ago

moment of silence...

1966 Chevy something. Then a 66 Ford Falcon with three on the tree. Then a 73 Vega. Life was good.

Funny Funny Stuff today!!! ;)

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acg 7 years, 9 months ago

Did you date your hubby back in HS sue?

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blue73harley 7 years, 9 months ago

How many conversion vans were lettered "Afternoon Delight"?

A favorite saying among the vanners back in the day - "Ignorance Through Research".

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sgtwolverine 7 years, 9 months ago

I'm waiting for someone to make a conversion van joke for Sue now.

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blue73harley 7 years, 9 months ago

'63 Ford F-100. It was the same truck my dad used in his moving business for hauling appliances so it had a big wooden shell on the back to strap 'em down. The truck was a manual with no power steering and the shell had no back window. The day I turned 16 he took me to get my license in it. Fortunately, the examiner felt sorry for me and did not make me parallel park the beast! BTW - it had no seat belts and a solid steel dash.

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gphawk89 7 years, 9 months ago

I don't remember ever being in a booster seat. Maybe had a car seat when I was an infant, but I can clearly remember riding in a car without a booster when I was 3 years old.

On the other hand, I also remember flying out the passenger-side door when my knee hit the inside door handle as my dad was making a left turn. I hung on to the window sill with one hand, my feet dragging on the pavement, until my dad got the car stopped. I was maybe 4-5 at the time, so in that sense, I'm not totally against booster seats for kids that age.

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sunflower_sue 7 years, 9 months ago

mommaeffort, just tell her it's 'cause you love her more than the other mommies love their kids...works for me!;)

Fangorn, I'm playing "Taps" for your VW. Shall we call in the motorcycle brigade to keep the Phelps clan away?

My hubby drove a conversion van in highschool. For some odd reason, he loved that thing! He was very sad when it died.

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The_Original_Bob 7 years, 9 months ago

'78 Pontiac Stationwagon. I think 3rd World countries have bought these, outfitted them with canons, and refer to them as tanks.

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Christine Pennewell Davis 7 years, 9 months ago

my poor daughter she is never gonna be out of a booster at this rate, she just a tiny person, probably be like twenty before she meets all the new critria poor baby.

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blessed3x 7 years, 9 months ago

Late 70's model Chrysler Newport. It had seatbelts, but with that much steel around you who needed 'em! ;-)

Huge comfy seats and you didn't drive it down the rode, you captained the ship. It would "GGGGGLLLLLIIIIIIDDDDDEEEE" down the street. Ahhh! To have that car as an adult. Not very fuel efficient but infinitely more comfy than the plastic pieces of crap today.

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craigers 7 years, 9 months ago

S.S I think I saw you driving the other day!!! I about choked from all the fumes!! I learned a classy Celebrity with missing paint in multiple places. I believe the term is hoopty!!

Can we all have a moment of silence for Fangorn's 85 Golf?

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acg 7 years, 9 months ago

Aw fangorn. :( May it rest in peace.

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Fangorn 7 years, 9 months ago

I learned to drive in a 1967 Ford Fairlane 500 with a "three on the tree". Now that was interesting.

My first car was an (approximately) orange 1973 Pontiac LeMans. It got about 10 miles to the gallon in the city.

I've been driving my 1985 Volkswagon Golf for over 16 years. It now needs a repair that costs more than a month's payment for a newer car. When I told my mechanic not to perform the repair, I felt like I'd just pulled the life support plug on my best friend. It's old, has rust, no radio, no AC, but man! I'm gonna miss that car!

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acg 7 years, 9 months ago

1972 flourescent green Chevy Nova. That thing had character. You could take the keys out of the ignition, while driving. Once you turned it off, though, you had to smack the steering wheel in just the right spot, while cranking the ignition, to get it to start again. The back bumper was held on by duct tape. It cost me $200 and a case of bag of weed. I bought it from a stoner guy at LHS one day and my mom flipped out when I drove that stinky, loud, deathtrap up in the driveway. Oh to be a kid again. :)

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sunflower_sue 7 years, 9 months ago

1976 Ford LTD! Had an oil drip and everytime I stopped at a light, tons of smoke would billow up from under the hood. Oh, the shame!

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sgtwolverine 7 years, 9 months ago

I learned to drive in my parents' full-size Dodge van. Don't know the year. Maybe a 2000. Kind of an unwieldy vehicle. I learned to drive a manual in their Dodge Stratus (similar vintage, or lack thereof). I do not miss the van; it would get stuck so easily in snow, and the handling was not very good. The Stratus was better. Though I have a Neon now, so I'm not too far off.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 7 years, 9 months ago

OMB,

As a 3 y.o. , I drove that Studebaker Lark backwards into a tree, (no clutch/starter interlock?)

But the first vehicle I actually ever drove? Some non-descript ratty old grain truck.
"Hey kid, know the way to New Leipzig?"
"Take that truck to the elevator"

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bankboy119 7 years, 9 months ago

I wouldn't make my kid go to school still riding in a booster seat. We were all out of them by the time we were riding the bus.

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one_more_bob 7 years, 9 months ago

Waxing nostalgic, what car did you learn to drive in? I learned in a 1952 two-door Plymouth Cranbrook.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 7 years, 9 months ago

S.S.,

Yeah, I felt like Joey, running behind that old studebaker, :

Shane. Shane! Come back! 'Bye, Shane.

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sunflower_sue 7 years, 9 months ago

I saw a grown woman riding in the back of a pickup yesterday. She was obviously holding down the pile of wood and used tires she was sitting on. She smiled at us with her one toothed grin and my youngest said "Hey mom, she looks just like Mater in the Cars movie!" I'm still laughing.

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Aileen Dingus 7 years, 9 months ago

My 9 year old is still in a booster- but as other people have mentioned, she likes it because it allows her to see out the window.

My 15 year old was out of a carseat at 5, he's over 6 feet tall now, so he never had a booster.

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hitme 7 years, 9 months ago

My, how things have changed in 30 years. I rode all the way to Ely Minnesota in the back of a pick-up as a kid and thought it was a fun adventure. We always rode in the back of my friend's dad's truck and his dad always had an open beer. (No, I wouldn't allow a kid to do that and I wouldn't drink and drive)

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trinity 7 years, 9 months ago

have mercy these responses are a HOOT! :p and i am quite surprised that the pleather factor arose; thanks, original bob! and how 'bout that guy on the street that puts his kid in a bucket; man...somebody should call the authorities!

it's truly a different world, all my kidlets stopped using a car seat soon as they could stand next to me! or-ride in the very back part of my station wagon. yeah we were lucky, alright. betcha each one of 'em had marks across their chest from my arm being flung across 'em whenever i'd have to brake hard.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 7 years, 9 months ago

Yesterday I got different recycled work vehicle, I did have to use a couple of "booster towels"

If they would have had car seats when I was a child, maybe my sister would have not been able to shove me out of the back of a '63 Studebaker Lark while moving. Hmmm......

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sgtwolverine 7 years, 9 months ago

Maybe Michael Jackson should have used a car seat when he dangled that child over the balcony.

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krissypoetry 7 years, 9 months ago

hey mooseamoose she does not have to use a car seat---she is "country"

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farmgirl 7 years, 9 months ago

My 14 year old just passed 4'9" (shot up about 1.5" in two months), and weighs about 69 pounds. When she was 10 she had no problem with a booster for safety. She also liked that she could actually see out the windows when she was in it. But now that she is a dreaded teenager I don't think I could get her in a booster unless I used a lot of that duct tape.

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mooseamoose 7 years, 9 months ago

I'm not sure. I always check with Britney Spears before using a carseat.

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sgtwolverine 7 years, 9 months ago

Exactly, fangorn. It creates nice continuity.

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fleeba 7 years, 9 months ago

I know a few adults that weight less than 80 lbs, or are shorterd than 4'9".. do they have to ride in a booster seat also?? (think little people)

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The_Original_Bob 7 years, 9 months ago

I think Jonas must of been trying out the collection from Bob's Pleather and Sundries.

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RETICENT_IRREVERENT 7 years, 9 months ago

85?

Then they could see over the steering wheel, hunched over that close to the airbag is dangerous too. 35mph on a state highway?

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acg 7 years, 9 months ago

Oh, and um, Jonas? ?????? You alright, there, man?

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acg 7 years, 9 months ago

Kline, I got a rear facing seat at Babies R Us in Topeka. It's a Cosco brand and it's good for babies over 20 lbs. up to two years old (it's adjustable). It faces rear and forward and was only like $90. The only thing I don't like about it, it's black, which sucks for Bree in the summer but it was the only one I could find that faced rear for babies more than 20 lbs.

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Dixie Jones 7 years, 9 months ago

i would of loved to been in a booster seat as a child i was short and could not see out the windows and i got car sick because i couldnt see out .... that was back in the days of you stood by momma and she hopefully threw her arm in front of you if she had to quicky stop... obviously she didnt catch my brother he had to of hit his head at some point in life.....

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sunflower_sue 7 years, 9 months ago

My youngest is going to be 10 in September. She is still in a booster seat. She is a little thing. She is not embarrassed at all about her booster seat. Only two other of her friends ride in booster seats but that's just fine with her. She knows she's not tall enough or heavy enough to be without one. If her friends ask her about it, which they do, she just tells them it's her booster seat because she's still small for her age. She says "Besides, I can actually see out of the window when I'm in it." She is 4'6" tall and weighs less than 65 pounds. She knows it's a safety issue and has never complained.

I guess parents that say they can't make their little ones sit in a booster seat are just whipped. Yep, whipped!

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Redzilla 7 years, 9 months ago

Look, I know, I know, it's all about the safety these days, but I can't help but wonder how I would have felt at 7 to still be riding in a car seat. Horrified--that's what I keep coming up with. Sure seatbelts are safer than grandma holding you back with her outstretched arm, but yeesh, 7 in a car seat. You're probably not supposed to let kids ride on the pickup tailgate anymore either?

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The_Original_Bob 7 years, 9 months ago

I don't know. But they should be required to be locked into a booster seat at restaurants.

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Fangorn 7 years, 9 months ago

sgtw: Then they could just turn their car seat over to their children. Of course, they may have to adjust the straps a little.....

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sgtwolverine 7 years, 9 months ago

They should ride until they are parents.

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ljreader 7 years, 9 months ago

Till a person weighs 80 pounds, or is over age 80. Some of the litttle old ladies I see driving around can barely see over the steering wheel.

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southerngirl 7 years, 9 months ago

I used to do the Safe Kids car seat checks at the fire station at LMH. They are now building car seats for larger babies, but I have been out of the game long enough so that I don't know the brand names. The inspections are free and they will teach you how to install the car seat to fit your car (with all of the different car seats, seatbelt configurations and vehicle seats it's really challenging!). If you can't afford a car seat, they will give you one for a donation. It's a wonderful service that not enough people take advantage of!!!

My daughter was almost 10 before she could ride in a seatbelt alone! How embarassing for her to be the ONLY kid in the world to have to ride in a booster seat at that age. : )

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consumer1 7 years, 9 months ago

I think 24 years with a master's degree.

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nudist 7 years, 9 months ago

Some of those seatbelt straps can really pinch.

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Fangorn 7 years, 9 months ago

My daughter is 8. She hasn't ridden in a car seat for several years. I can't recall exactly when we got rid of the booster set.

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boogeyman 7 years, 9 months ago

I've always felt a spacious trunk was a nice feature...very soundproof too.

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H_Lecter 7 years, 9 months ago

A little extra duct tape might be a good idea. A nice piece of rope and a game called "See if you can get out of this one" keeps kids occupied for hours.

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killjoy 7 years, 9 months ago

Well, now that we have roundabouts and side G-forces, I think we better leave them in the car seats until they can get their own driver's licenses.

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Ceallach 7 years, 9 months ago

Let's hope he learns to walk early, Kline :) I think the fire department still provides infant carseat information and free inspection for correct adjustment of the attaching seat belts.

Size and age should determine the need for booster seats. But you know the bottom feeders who do not already secure their children for safety are not going to comply. Some parents also allow larger children to "skip" a grade of seats, I do not think that is wise. The bone, nerve, etc., development is just as immature in the larger child and should be provided with protection necessary for them to survive a sudden stop or crash with little or no damage.

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blue73harley 7 years, 9 months ago

OMB apparently believes in the cliche that size doesn't matter ;-)

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krissypoetry 7 years, 9 months ago

well i am 23 am my folks say next year i might be ready.

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jonas 7 years, 9 months ago

My dominatrix makes me ride in the car seat on the way over to her place. It's the way we warm up, so to speak.

I'm a bad boy.

SAY IT AGAIN!

I'm a bad boy.

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one_more_bob 7 years, 9 months ago

When they are old enough to vote?

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Kline 7 years, 9 months ago

Okay, my wife corrected me. Our 6 month old baby is 28 lbs 3 oz. We need a gigantic rear facing baby seat, preferrably with wheels, and a strap would be nice so we can pull him along.

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blue73harley 7 years, 9 months ago

How old? Doesn't matter. Depends on size not age.

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Kline 7 years, 9 months ago

I have a gigantic baby who has outgrown his car seat. He's 6 months old and he weighs 29 pounds. His height/weight/head size is off the chart! No overfeeding abuse by us either.

Are there any rear facing car seats you can buy for a gigantic baby? The way he is growing he might be ready for a booster in another year.

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mert1717 7 years, 9 months ago

I belive the recommended policy is once they weight over 60 pounds.

My son is 5 and could probley ride in a noraml seat belt or at least just a booster. He actually likes his car seat so we will probley wait another year or so before the transition. We still require our kids to ride in the back due to airbags.

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enochville 7 years, 9 months ago

According to the article: "The new booster seat requirement will apply when a child aged 4 through 7 weighs less than 80 pounds or is shorter than 4 feet 9 inches."

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